When China introduced its drastic population controls, officials promised that it would lift them after 30 years – an anniversary which falls this weekend. Aware of the resentment the policy would cause, the government said it was a temporary measure in response to China’s high unemployment and food scarcity.
…With only one child to care for, parents have been able to save more money, enabling banks to make the loans that have funded China’s huge investments in infrastructure.
Meanwhile, officials claim the policy has conserved food and energy and allowed each child better education and healthcare.
…The government believes the policy has prevented 400 million births, which would otherwise have stretched the resources of China, and the world, to breaking point.
Critics, however, say it has created a rapidly ageing society, with each only child having to care for two parents and four grandparents. In 2009, almost 13 per cent of China’s population was over 60 and the share is growing rapidly. Meanwhile, a preference in Chinese families for boys over girls has created a surplus of 24 million men who will not be able to find a wife to marry.